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POLICE

Ikea ‘spied’ on angry clients in France

Furniture giant Ikea has been accused of spying on dissatisfied clients in France, following allegations that the Swedish company snooped on its French staff. Police have carried out a search at Ikea's French head office.

Ikea 'spied' on angry clients in France

“No company has ever treated us so badly,” wrote a woman known as Hanna F. in a letter of complaint to Ikea, French website Mediapart reveals. Hanna had bought a kitchen and beds for her country house at an Ikea shop in Evry in the outskirts of Paris.

Ikea delivered the items two months after the agreed date, meaning Hanna and her family had to stay in a bed and breakfast near their home in the French department of Finistère.

Hanna wrote a letter of complaint to ikea asking for a refund of the extra cost. But what Hanna did not suspect was that the company then allegedly started an investigation into Hanna’s background.

According to Mediapart, Ikea contacted a private detective to find out details about the dissatisfied customer.

Ikea allegedly investigated another client known as Jérôme P., a real estate agent, who complained about a faulty wardrobe he had bought.

On Friday, French police searched the headquarters of the company in France and the home of the employee responsible for Ikea’s risk management policy, following allegations of illegal surveillance.

Employees working for Ikea have filed a complaint against the company for allegedly spying on employees.

The management of the company in France said it was taking the accusations “very seriously”.

“The respect of privacy is amongst the most strongly held values of the group and we strongly disapprove of any actions which call that into question,” the company said in a statement.

POLICE

Two mountaineers killed and 9 injured in ice fall in Swiss mountains

A Frenchwoman and a Spaniard were killed and nine other mountaineers were injured on Friday in an ice fall in southwest Switzerland, police said following a rescue attempt involving several helicopters.

Two mountaineers killed and 9 injured in ice fall in Swiss mountains

Police received calls at 6.20 am reporting that mountaineers had been caught up in falling seracs — columns of glacial ice formed by crevasses — on the Grand Combin, a glacial massif near the Italian border in the Wallis region.

Seven helicopters with mountain rescue experts flew to the scene, finding 17 mountaineers split among several groups.

“Two people died at the scene of the accident,” Wallis police said in a statement. They were a 40-year-old Frenchwoman and a 65-year-old man from Spain.

Nine mountaineers were airlifted to hospitals in nearby Sion and in Lausanne. Two of them are seriously injured, police said.

Other mountaineers were evacuated by helicopter.

The regional public prosecutor has opened an investigation “to determine the circumstances of this event”, the police said.

The serac fall happened at an altitude of 3,400 metres in the Plateau de Dejeuner section along the Voie du Gardien ascent route.

The Grand Combin massif has three summits above 4,000 metres, the highest of which is the Combin de Grafeneire at 4,314 metres.

The police issued a note of caution about setting off on such high-altitude expeditions.

“When the zero-degree-Celsius isotherm is around 4,000 metres above sea level, it is better to be extra careful or not attempt the route if in doubt,” Wallis police said.

“The golden rule is to find out beforehand from the mountain guides about the chosen route and its current feasibility.”

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